December 11, 2007

Our Christmas in Japan

Our team here in Nagano-- in the Japanese Alps-- is giving at least a couple dozen Christmas shows in shopping centers, nursing homes this month-- as we do each year. We'll distribute hundreds of magazines, music CDs and tracts-- all culminating in a Christmas dinner and program for those we regularly minister to.

No, in Japan they don't have a Western-style Christmas season, but people are still aware of the season-- and many even are somewhat aware of the reason for the season-- celebrating Christ's birth-- even though the commercial 'buy, buy, buy!' spirit is what is promoted everywhere.

Part of the emphasis on shopping is because most employees in Japan get a year-end bonus in December-- Also businesses and government departments nearly all have year-end parties for their workers-- but the biggest reason Christmas has been so commercialized, sadly, is the influence of the West.

The good news is that this season is still a wonderful opportunity to share the Good News. Just as it was in India and China where I spent eight Christmas seasons. These are places where it can be sometimes difficult to approach people directly most of the year. But Christmas is a time when people will readily receive a printed or personal 'Christmas message of God's love'.

Christmas brings new hope and courage, as through the darkness, the Christmas star shines its promise of God's unfailing love.—David Brandt Berg

The Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.Luke 1:78–79

Follow this link to an article about a recent film by Christian Carion, Joyeux Noël (2005), which retells the story of a well-documented event that occurred on a battlefield in France on Christmas Eve, 1914:

[above photo: singing at a local center, Christmas 2006]

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